Tradition is surprisingly agile; it can be ground down in a generation or last for a thousand years.
This kind of volatility is what usually claims a tradition as a living one.
Although only forty years young St James has its own traditions and rituals that connect us back to the living waters plumbed by our founder Leon MacLaren, the son of a Labour MP passionately interested in the economic thought of Henry George and a seeker of Truth. MacLaren’s life led him to explore meditation, the foundational knowledge of both West and East and those practices that we now call mindfulness.
St James arose from the desire for something finer and more holistic; a school that recognised the needs of the inner world and the beauty of the human heart. I thought of this on Wednesday as the boys learnt a little of our founder’s vision and life.
Mr MacLaren's successor as Senior Tutor of the School of Philosophy and Economic Science, Donald Lambie, spoke to the boys at our Founders Day Assembly. He explained that Leon MacLaren believed that every child should receive the best possible education with the best material available to enable them to fulfill their true potential. Above all, he said, Mr MacLaren believed that education should nourish and strengthen character.
What would Mr Maclaren have made of his school now in 2019? I hope he would have been pleased to see the school he founded in 1975 with just 30 pupils, now four hundred strong and with a wide curriculum including Classics and Sanskrit. Perhaps it would have pleased him to witness the pupils in the blue blazers he chose, falling still together and coming to rest.
The world needs all that Mr MacLaren valued and held dear - the Good, the True and the Beautiful.